Grit Blogs > Country Life

Winter Is Late In Arriving and A New Project

Ginnie BakerWinter took its good old time arriving but it's here in full force! It was snowing so hard, I couldn't see beyond the post light at noon! We aren’t getting hit as hard as New England, but here in Bellville, we’ve had more than our share of snow and ice.

Our schools are already out of “snow days” and they are using scheduled days to be closed as “make-up” days; it’s only the middle of February!

winter 

Today, Sunday, February 15, we woke up to temperatures of 10 below zero and a wind chill of minus 20!

At least Samson and Delilah, my miniature donkeys, were snug in their barn where the temperature was at 12 degrees; not balmy but better than below zero!

The poor birds are having a tough time. We filled bird feeders at least five or six times yesterday. It was a terrible day; heavy snow and wind blowing better than 30 mph all day.

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I’ll be working on an exciting project for the Richland County Soil and Water Conservation District, doing research and interviews with local Bellville residents. The RSWC is putting together a project on pioneer farmers in Richland County. We have a lot of fourth-generation families right here in Bellville so I’ll be gathering information and interviewing those Bellville residents who can trace their “roots” back all of those generations.

Bellville was originally settled by James McCluer and Jonathan Oldfield in 1808, making their way from Fredericktown, a neighboring town, following the path made by a recent tornado.

Eventually, the land was sold to Robert Bell in 1815, and he actually began to shape the Village of Bellville. A tavern was the first business to be built!

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This is a photo of Dudley's Tavern before it was torn down a couple of years ago for a new bank.

There is a lot of history in Bellville! Our village offices are still in the original brick building that was constructed in 1877. It also was the village jail.

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This is a photo of a car in a recent car show. The old brick building in the background is our town hall and old jail.

bandstand1Our famous and picturesque bandstand was built in 1879 and is the very heart of Bellville. All of our parades and activities begin at the bandstand. It’s also a very popular site for weddings that the mayor performs.

By 1872, Bellville had two blacksmith shops, hardware stores, a bakery, four grocery stores, two harness shops, two barber shops, dentist offices and the Exchange Bank.

A friend of mine, Top Walker, our retired fire chief, has a collection of Bellville Street Fair books going back to the 1800s. They are so interesting to read. The Street Fair has been a big part of Bellville almost from the beginning of the village.

early photo of Bellville street fair

Bellville was also famous for being part of the Gold Rush with the first gold found on Dead Man’s Run. People from all over came to Bellville to pan for gold. We still have annual Gold Rush events through the Gold Prospectors Association with people coming to pan for gold at Gatton Rocks.

This is going to be a fun and exciting project and I’m flattered to have been asked to take part in it!